Each week, Scottsbluff Police Cpl. Krisa Brass will answer questions submitted by Star-Herald readers. Send questions for consideration to firstname.lastname@example.org or by leaving your question at 308-632-9057.
Q: My 13 year old son is interested in law enforcement. What are some things he can do now to foster that and what is necessary in the state of Nebraska to be a police man or woman?
A: It’s great to hear your son has an interest in law enforcement! There are a few actions he can take to foster that interest now and some additional actions he can take in a few years.
First and foremost, finish school and stay out of trouble. I would also encourage others who may be interested in the career field to take advantage of community events like Coffee with a Cop. Attend the events and sit down and talk with different officers about what they do on a daily basis and ask a lot of questions.
The Scottsbluff Police Department does have a Ride Along program. You must be at least 16 years of age to participate in the program and must also have parental consent if under the age of 18.
As far as the requirements to become a police officer each agency's procedure may vary slightly but overall the process is pretty similar. For the State of Nebraska, the statutory age requirement is a minimum age of 21. There is no statutory maximum age. Once an agency has listed a job opening, you fill out an application and turn it in just like most other places of employment. The application packet is more in depth than other job applications. The department will evaluate applications and then send testing invitations to those who qualify. Sometimes there is information within the initial application that may disqualify a person causing them to be removed from the testing process early on.
The testing itself consists of a written examination, physical ability test and an oral interview board. All applicants are scored in each category and an eligibility list is established. Once the list is established, a thorough background check is completed along with a psychological evaluation and/or polygraph and a drug screening.
Once someone is actually hired, they are required to complete a field training program (12 weeks or more) and attend the police academy, which has its own set of standards.
For admission to the Nebraska Law Enforcement Training Center a person must meet the following criteria before being considered; must turn 21 years old before completion of the program, must be a United States citizen, must hold a Nebraska driver’s license, must hold a high school diploma or GED, must be able to read, write, and understand the English language at an eleventh grade level, and must possess good character as determined by a thorough background check. There is also a list of convictions that would disqualify you from being accepted into the program.
Once the above criteria is met, you will then have to be able to pass the Physical Readiness Entrance Test which is modeled after the Cooper Institute Test. If an applicant is able to meet all of the requirements, they will undergo a 15-week training program. Upon completion of that program the person will be a certified law enforcement officer within the state of Nebraska.
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